Mark 9:5

“Rabbi,” said Peter, interposing, “it is good to be here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”

Peter still an undergrad
applied his book learning
claiming his set theory
is just what is needed
in this dramatic moment

on a barren mountain plain
where every potential comes to dance
Peter would litter rocky shrines
turning a vocation to competition
between RGB hue sliders

this attempted solidification of the past
each with its gift shop of golden oldies
will miss a point of ongoing good news
exemplifying a trust of greater to come
through steadfastly changing hearts

Peter’s pop quiz
a wilderness test
pointedly failed
a forced response
freezing today

Peter’s response lives up to ἀποκρίθεις (apokritheis) which can

designate the action of a person who breaks into a conversation or who introduces something new into the discourse—this is its use here, for Peter had not been asked any questions.” (Bratcher275)

Just when we think we are all together—Moses, Elijah, Jesus, Disciples—Peter, speaking for his compatriots, bursts forth with a non sequitur.

How common this is. When surprised—babble on in the tradition of Babel, confusing the situation. In today’s political life, nonsense and non sequitur. the technique of being assertive without having anything helpful to say, poisons the whole scene with trembling and fear.

We are not helped by translators who resort to fancy language such as “tabernacles”, “tents”, “(sacred) tents”, “shelters”, “shrines”, “sanctuaries”, “memorials”, “dwellings”, or “places”. The best image here refers to the Feast of “Booths”—a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem with end-of-time implications of an ingathering of Harvest (Exodus 34:22) or a Completion of an Exodus from slavery to one Pharaoh or another to a dependence upon G*D (Leviticus 23:42–43).

Peter’s image of Booths puts more focus on locating ourselves along a pilgrimage road from dependence to partnership than honoring any given moment. If it is Booths, we need one or six, not three.

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